Two highly regarded Hindu points of interest call Chamundi Hill home. The first, Sri Chamundeswari Temple, sits atop the summit some 3000 feet high overlooking the hazy skies of Mysore, Karnataka. While the second, a monolith statue of Nandi the Bull, lies nestled in the hillside foliage.
Depictions of Nandi the bull, Lord Shiva’s vehicle, can be found throughout South India. But the carving here on Chamundi Hill, from 1659, minutes from Mysore, is particularly noteworthy. Purists and pilgrims access the monolith via the famous and well documented steps leading from the hill’s base to the summit.
These steps, also added in 1659, number between 1000 and 1500 depending on which route a person travels. A second more isolated set of steps exist on the hill’s opposite side which are reportedly more interesting and preferred by locals, regardless of the rumored leopards which roam the brush.
Nandi sits 15 feet high, 24 feet in width and is carved out of a single piece of rock, thus making it a monolith. Easily accessed either by road or steps, tourists can stop by for a photo opp with the statue crouching on a cement base surrounded by a black, rod iron gate. An arti plate sits in front of the bull as a self-service blessing for followers who perform puja. Directional signs point the way to the Sri Chamundeswari Temple, just 300 steps uphill and definitely worth the effort. Wide, short height steps snake through trees and bushes. Female travelers would be wise to walk with another person due to the quiet surroundings, blind curves, rumored animals, and male walkers.
Combined with the temple, visitors should plan several hours to a half day. Numerous taxis, tuk tuk’s and buses run the hill daily for quick transportation to and from Mysore. Food and phone services are also available on the hilltop.